My personal favourite Tragically Hip memory was from when I was a reporter for CKWS TV Newshour. In 1984 I had the privilege of being the first broadcaster to ever interview the band. The group, on the brink of fame, arranged for the interview in Johnny Faye’s parents’ living room.
Two decades later, Rob, Paul, Johnny and the two Gords agreed to coordinate a day-long benefit concert for the Community Foundation. Brigadier General Jean LeClerc generously offered the playing fields of RMC and Across the Causeway was born. With the support of Mayor Rosen who offered policing and transportation, CFB’s Commander Larry Aitken who offered land, air and sea security, and the help of 250 volunteers, Co-chair Eveline Flint and I faced the challenge of pulling it together in six weeks.
On September 12, 2004, 20,000 fans walked over the Causeway and streamed onto the open-air site to enjoy Kingston’s own - and their friends. The Hip, along with seven additional bands and M.C. Dan Aykroyd, all donated their time. The record-setting proceeds of $355,500 benefited Camp Trillium, Joe’s M.I.L.L.S. and launched the Tragically Hip Community Fund with $202,000. This once-in-a-lifetime event was yet another stellar example of how these guys never forget their Kingston roots.
Today the Fund is worth $213,000, having granted $78,000 to many community groups like: Skeleton Park Music Festival, Almost Home and “Planet Earth: A Better Future.” As Community Foundation endowments are held in perpetuity only disbursing the earnings, The Tragically Hip will be helping their fellow Kingstonians forever.